President, Arlington Memorial Gardens
It’s deeply ironic that none of us, as in zero percent, enjoy thinking or talking about death. The irony is that the avoidance denies life’s one sure thing. We deny out of fear; that is, by letting any thoughts seep into our consciousness means that considering the full reality of death isn’t far behind. And so we work hard at averting all of those thoughts. However, the irony doesn’t end there; there’s another component although it’s an extension of the denial of death. It’s the irony of denying the finality of death by being remembered.
The impulse for living vicariously via memory certainly isn’t a new concept. For proof, one needs look no further than the Great Pyramids of Egypt where the Pharaohs of ancient times hoped that the monolithic monuments would convey an eternal earthly presence. Or, for proof with a more familiar flavor, simply visit your local traditional cemetery where those who possessed the financial means erected large granite monuments to invoke, hopefully good, memories for those left behind.
|Remembrance Service at Arlington Memorial Gardens.|
Losing someone we love has a jarring impact on our lives. It presents a moment of personal crisis that is unlike any other we experience. It’s the grotesque end, not just of a life, but a way of life. It’s over and out; done and finished. Things are never the same.
And yet, life does go on even as we struggle and lurch forward. In the 1970 movie I Never Sang for My Father, there was a line that perhaps epitomizes the aftermath of a death. It is: “Death ends a life. But it does not end a relationship; which struggles on in the survivor's mind, toward some resolution, which it may never find.”
After losing someone we love, we search for ways to maintain that relationship. It sometimes seems impossible but we learn, over time, to hold them securely and dearly in our memories. Most of the time, that’s a personal experience, left to the quiet inner workings of our minds. But every once in a while we’re given the opportunity to express our love in a more pronounced and public forum.
Arlington’s Christmas Remembrance Service on Sunday, December 21st at 1:30 PM in our Lakeside Chapel is one such opportunity. It’s a beautiful service where we collectively remember those we have lost; and in memory, light a candle – a sign that a life has been lived. We invite you to join us at this service.
Daniel Applegate became part of the Arlington Memorial Gardens organization in 2001 and has worked in the cemetery industry since 1981, including serving as Secretary/Treasurer and then as President of the Ohio state cemetery association. He was appointed by Ohio Governor George Voinovich and served two terms on the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission, Ohio's cemetery oversight agency. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.